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Content by Chad Hoover, reposted from the Wilderness Systems blog.
We often taught stealth as the primary advantage of the kayak. Here is my modification to take it to the next level.
I found this product from Stewart Products Sure Step and it immediately got my attention as a way to make the kayak more "quiet". We often talk about the stealth of kayaks as a major advantage but overlook how load they can be when bumped with a paddle. I contacted the company to see if I could order the material in larger sheets and the owner was happy to oblige. The following is my conversion of the Commander 120 into an extremely quiet fishing machine. This makes an already amazing boat even more stealthy.
I chose the diamond pattern in the softer material. I have already tested it as a non-skid footing material and was very impressed with the results, so here is my adaptation to quiet the kayak at paddle
"contact" points (deliberate and inadvertent)
Create a strip by using a standard 2X4 as the template.
Cut out the material to use for covering the side rail.
Lay the material in place and measure for required length.
After cutting to length, remove adhesive backing and insert just underneath the side rail of the Commander 120.
After slowing folding over the material and working from front to back to work out air bubbles, use a razor blade and trim away the excess taking care not to cut the existing gunwale pads on the Commander 120.
Trim away all excess material and taper backwards by following one of the lines in the pattern.
Repeat this process for the other side and them move on to the nose.
This area is a little tricky, but by working from the center out it is really easy. Use the tip of a Sharpie marker to work the material into all cracks and crevices and then cut away excess with a razor blade or exacto knife.
Next, move to the twart bar. Remove the stock padding and replace with a strip of the Sure Step material. Notice in the nose area that the material wraps around to cover the lip to provide extra insurance against bumping the boat when attempting to stow your paddle.
Add three Nerf balls to the nose bungee to keep rod tips from getting tangled and you are finished with your Commander 120 Quiet Contact System. I am currently considering adding this to other kayak models.